UK Government doing ‘lasting damage’ to economy, says Nicola Sturgeon, as she vows to go ahead with independence referendum

The Scottish First Minister said Liz Truss’s short tenure in No10 had been “utterly catastrophic”, after the mini-budget sunk the pound and “brought pension funds to the brink of collapse”.

“This UK Government is doing real and I feared lasting damage to the UK economy and to the very fabric of UK society,” she told ITV on Friday morning.

“We’re now told there’s further austerity cuts coming and they can’t even give a commitment not to erode the incomes of those on benefits.”

Britain’s highest court will this month decide whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate to hold a second independence referendum.

The SNP had planned for the country to vote on whether to break away from England and Wales in October 2023.

Ms Sturgeon said funding for a second independence referendum would not be cut, despite the cost of living crisis.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Ms Sturgeon was asked if the budget to prepare for another vote – for which around £20 million has been set aside – will be cut in order to support people further with rising bills.

“We’re talking about this financial year and the independence referendum, I hope, will be in the next financial year,” she said.

“So even if we did, which we’re not going to because I was elected as first minister on a commitment to democracy.

“I was elected with a record share of the vote in the Scottish Parliament elections last year on a record turnout. So, we’re going to deliver on that commitment to people.”